As a fire commissioner at East Pierce Fire and Rescue for the past 25 years, I am compelled to respond to Ms. Jaqueline Whelan’s recent Letter to the Editor. It appears that even though Ms. Whelan recently requested public records from our organization, a request that kept one of our staff members away from their normal duties for a lengthy period of time, she still can’t get her facts straight.
Ms. Whelan would like to have you think that as your elected representatives, we are spending your money like a bunch of drunken sailors. That is simply not true! We have reduced our costs commensurate with our nearly 30 percent reduction in revenue since the 2007 down turn in the economy through program cuts, limiting needed equipment replacements and purchases, employee salary freezes and furloughs, and so forth. I believe we have done an outstanding job with our budget, as there have not been cuts to your service levels.
As a public agency serving you, our emergency responses have increased more than 20 percent in the past few years and even with a limited budget, we have always been there to meet your needs. We do not have the luxury of picking and choosing which emergencies we respond to, as perhaps Ms. Whelan could do by cutting items from her personal budget such as going to a concert, a Mariners game, etc. When you call, we respond.
Now we are asking for your help in meeting nationally recognized fire engine staffing standards for our firefighter’s safety, which requires three persons on an apparatus.
As the leader of the Against Committee on Proposition 1, you would think that Ms. Whelan’s responsibility is to provide accurate information to you, but that’s not happening. In fact it appears that she is providing as much misinformation as possible to blur the truth. If you have questions on Proposition 1, I would invite you to contact Fire Chief Jerry Thorson at 253-863-1800, prior to marking your ballot.
I believe you owe that to your friends, neighbors, family and loved ones.
Rick Kuss, Bonney Lake